Reviews by Country
A title like this one could be seen as either portentous or incredibly bland and the one-sentence synopsis on the back of the box doesn’t give much away. The major point of interest in Rise of the Legend sounds like it’s Sammo Hung playing the big bad, but it turns out this is actually a gritty origin story for the legendary Wong Fei-hung.
At the time of this film’s release another notable folk hero, Wing Chun master Ip Man, … (read more)
Given the success of the previous two films co-starring Sammo Hung, Jackie Chan and Yuen Biao, it’s no surprise the Golden Harvest studio produced another, although it took a few years to come to fruition. In the meantime, Jackie had become a superstar and movie theatres were teeming with modern-day Hong Kong action comedies, so the formula was remixed for what is still — despite the pleading puppy dog eyes of millions of fans — the final big screen collaboration … (read more)
At least the title is likely to catch an eye running down a list of potential viewing opportunities. The standard explanation for this strangeness is that the previous two films from the Golden Harvest studio that had English names beginning with the letter M had flopped, so the titular nouns were reversed to get away from the unlucky consonant. What the heck — a fun movie needs a fun title, and this one delivers!
Following in Bruce Lee’s footsteps with … (read more)
Sammo Hung has embraced the fact he is a large fellow. Often giving his characters names that draw attention to his size — Teapot in Winners and Sinners or Moby in Wheels on Meals — or even referencing his physique in the title of the film itself — Enter the Fat Dragon or Skinny Tiger, Fatty Dragon — he has never allowed his decidedly non-traditional fighting frame to slow him down. This is amply apparent in Pedicab Driver.
Seconds … (read more)
Many moons ago, pro-exploitation producer-director Wong Jing and actor Chow Yun-fat hit box office and entertainment pay dirt when they teamed up for God of Gamblers. That film’s pulpy action comedy was a silly delight, and proved Wong, something of a Roger Corman for Hong Kong, had the ability to crank out popular hits that didn’t always involve jiggling boobies. It lightened up Chow’s image among niche viewers outside Hong Kong (he was best known to that point for … (read more)
Recently I watched Monsters, Gareth Edwards’ reasonably low-budget sci-fi and romance flick. Getting over the being-bashed-on-the-head subtext about racial inequality and the U.S.’ view of the poor and foreigners alike as ‘alien’, the film has a very gorgeous sense of cinematography. The landscapes are verdant, the cityscapes alive, rusted, and full of movement. Edwards’ film captures beautiful moments with economy and subtlety.
Why mention this? Because unfortunately the very next film I watched, immediately afterwards, was this film, Ip … (read more)